Andromeda: S01E12: The Mathematics of Tears
There was a lot to like about this show, it was a swashbuckler, full of guts and glory, love and mischief; women glowed and men thundered… that sort of thing.
IF HOPE IS THE ENGINE OF THE SOUL,
HIGH GUARD SUPREME COMMANDER
“Earned it my ass.” Replied Dylan.
Dylan retired to his quarters where he continued to moan to Rommie. Finally Beka returned with a peace-offering, she had a list of supposed locations of some derelict High Guard ships (like Andromeda) and suggested that they go and look for one. Dylan visibly brightened and studied the list enthusiastically.
They decided to checkout the ‘Ghost of Tao Seti Six‘ a warship called Pax Magellan of similar specification to Andromeda which was last sighted in the system of Herodotus. Unfortunately, all that was left of the planet system, was a rather beautiful asteroid belt.
No sooner had they got there than the Pax Magellan Warship was spotted (what wonderful luck!). It looked exactly like the Andromeda Ascendant except it glittered gold.
Rommie, Dylan, Beka and Harper took a small transport to board the derelict warship. Rommie had told them that the ship is her older sister, the Pax Magellan. It is one of the first Commonwealth Glorious Heritage Class Cruisers.
They boarded the dark and dusty ship and before Harper had a chance to sort out some lights the lights seemed magically to come on by themselves…. Unfortunately so did the ships internal defense systems. Laser bolts and little explosions whizzed all around until, after a minute or so, a doorway opened and we saw a VERY beautiful woman surrounded by High Guard personnel. The tall blonde lady introduced herself as “Lt. Jill Pearce of the Pax Magellan.” She also introduced her second in command and chief engineer, Dutch. They, and a few others, were the last surviving members of the crew.
The group walked down the corridor and Pearce told them that they were not descendants of the original crew; they WERE the original crew (or what was left of it). She couldn’t explain why they hadn’t aged in the 300 years that they had been there, but she suspected that it was something to do with the planet or the way it blew up.
Harper was following on behind her and added, “It’s a shame that a whole planet had to die, but you look great though.” Beka slapped him lightly across the back of his head. He continues to follow her like a puppy (she’s at least a foot taller than him).
On an observation deck, Lt. Pearce and Dylan Hunt talk about old times before she explains how most of her crewmembers were killed trying to evacuate soldiers from the planet surface. Just as they seemed to be making progress, the Nietzschean’s (with whom they were battling) blew up the planet. She mentioned that she lost all the people that she cared about that day.
Later, Harper and Rommie discuss the state of the ships computer. Rommie’s sister is not available for a chat. Sure there are basic functions – but no avatar for 300 years. Dylan orders Rommie to go into the computer systems virtual space and see if she can help revive the computer. The consequences of failure are that the ships computer would have to be reset (it is Systems Commonwealth policy that if an AI goes faulty, it should be erased because it contains documents of strategic and classified nature, the damage that a … damaged AI unit could cause was incalculable).
Dylan goes to the flight deck closely followed by Beka. The crew immediately greets him with all the formality of a highly respected and senior officer. People salute him at every opportunity, they offer him reports and call him sir and Dylan positively lapped it up (you could almost hear him thinking, ‘Ahh the good ol’days’). Beka wore a wry smile but also seemed a little embarrassed.
Then the lovely Lt. Pearce joins them. Dylan tells her that she runs a good ship and salutes her (I couldn’t help notice Beka’s face change – was she a little miffed? – in fact, have we ever heard Dylan say the same about her crew?). Lt. Pearce rose to the complement and they began the glances and smiles of a very mild flirting ritual. Lt. Pearce suggested they celebrate with an officer’s dinner, “Shall we say 2100 hours?” she said confidently. Dylan replied, “Yes.” (As any other warm blooded human male would).
“Can we make it 8.” Asked Beka in a chirpy mischievous voice, “it’s a blood sugar thing.” She added.
Dylan and Lt. Pearce suddenly seemed to wake and acknowledge Beka’s existence. But the Lieutenant was quick to rally. “Ensign,” she called. “Please show Captain Valentine to the Officers Mess” Then she suggested a menu. Beka smiled at Dylan as she left. The exchange clearly indicated that Lt. Pearce had wanted them to dine alone. Dylan didn’t look too upset by the arrangements.
Rommie instructs the Eureka Maru’s computer to initiate a virtual reality interface and she travels deep within the bowels of the Pax Magellan computer system. There she finds a humanoid shape (a female).
The golden semi-translucent figure seems to writhe in a state of mental turmoil. Rommie tries to talk to it, but it mutters things like, “What is the binary code for sadness?” and “What is the mathematics of tears?” It doesn’t seem to want to talk to Rommie. Eventually it lets her see the records of activities the day the planet exploded. Rommie is able to see that the crew left for the surface of the planet and that Captain Warrick ordered Lt. Pearce to stay behind. The recording played his words to her over and over again, “I need you here…. I need you here….”
Then the translucent figure of the Pax Magellan computer appears and tells Rommie that she doesn’t belong there and rips her out of virtual reality and back onto the Eureka Maru.
Dylan and Rommie return to the Andromeda Ascendant where Dylan changes for his dinner date. Rommie takes the time to brief him about the problems with the Pax Magellan computer. She tells him that the ship wasn’t lucid. It didn’t even remember Rommie (it was, by all intents and purposes, Rommie’s sister). Rommie is concerned that the computers memory will need to be erased (in keeping with Commonwealth protocols) but Dylan is confident that the ship will recover. It has, after all, been through a lot.
Rev Bem meanwhile, has been analyzing a skin sample of the crew of the stricken ship. He is puzzled that the tissue sample is most certainly 300 years old, but his own body (and that of the crew of the Andromeda Ascendant) is aging normally. Whatever is keeping them from ageing, will not work with anyone else. Beka has a hunch that the crew of the Pax Magellan are not telling the truth about their predicament.
Dylan is about to leave for his dinner date when Tyr joins him in the corridor. The big Nietzschean dude asks Dylan to consider the fact that, “Nietzschean’s are not in the habit of blowing up worlds, particularly while they are standing on them.” Dylan supposes that the planet may have blown up by accident, but even he must concur that the demise of the planet still requires further investigation.
Harper is with Chuck. The two geezers are about to attempt to get the ships Slipstream Drive working. But the door to the slipstream engine chamber is welded shut. When Harper asks why, Chuck replies, “I simply got sick of looking at it.”
As the Eureka Maru heads back to the Pax Magellan with a spruced up Dylan Hunt on board, Rommie and Beka are on the Bridge discussing family problems. Beka reminisces about her father and how difficult it was for her to get close to him… to help out or share his problems. Rommie is worried that her sister wont let her help.
Later, Captain Hunt and the lovely Lieutenant Pearce are sat in romantic surroundings chatting about … things. She tells him that her favourite opera (the one playing in the background) is Der fleegan der hollandienr…. Der Fleigan Dis Holl…. Dar Fleeghan der Hollandu…The Flying Dutchman. It was basically Horratio Hornblower music, full of swashbuckling fun and action, typical for a space mariner I guess. Anyway, while most normal blokes would have been attempting the third and forth stages of heavy flirting, Dylan Hunt simply listened to her rant about the overture and I’m almost positive he didn’t look at her front soft parts (this geezer is inhuman!).
Rommie meanwhile is gradually uncovering the truth about that fateful day when the Pax Magellan captain died. She learns that it was Lt. Pearce who fired the weapons that destroyed the planet killing everyone. Rommie joins Dylan and Pearce at the dinner table and announces, “It was her. Pearce. She blew up the planet, she killed her captain.”
Pearce admits that she was ordered to blow up the planet by Captain Wallace who was concerned that if the enemy captured him, he might reveal secrets. Beka looked skeptical. Rommie suggests that this information (i.e. the blowing up of her captain) was the repressed feelings that the Pax Magellan computer was having problems with. Dylan asks Rommie to see if she can help.
Meanwhile, Harper and Chuck finally manage to get into the Slipstream Drive Engine Chamber to find that the engine is not there. It’s completely gone. When Chuck tries to tell Harper that it was there last time he looked, half of us burst out laughing while Harper pointed out that something that big has to be ejected. Chuck stopped being lighthearted and took a distinctly nasty turn. He pushed Harper over the side of the gantry. Harper was holding onto the rails grimly trying to stop himself from falling to his death.
On the observation deck, Dylan is trying to comfort the lovely Lt. Pearce for her guilty feelings over the death of her Captain. Then, their eyes meet and … and … they kiss. It was only a short kiss, but I’m sure there were tongues involved. ( – Oh no! That means she’s gonna die!).
Lt. Pearce pulls away slightly embarrassed. “I’m sorry.” She says (too late babe, yer hours are numbered). Dylan tried to tell her that it’s ok.
Harper isn’t having half as nice a time however. He is just about to fall to his death when in comes Beka to the rescue. She fires at Chuck, but he big geezer seems only temporarily incapacitated. Then more of his pals enter the gantry and a firefight breaks out (all to the sound of Horatio Hornblower music in the background). The fight sequence was swashbuckling – and lot’s of fun. Somehow you knew that nobody was going to get hurt – except the bad guys.
Rommie has another go at trying to decipher the final moments of the planets existence and to determine the full extent of Lt. Pearce’s complicity in her captain’s death.
Harper and Beka make a run for it and finally manage to catch up with Dylan and Lt. Pearce. The seemingly indestructible nature of the ships crew leads Harper to the conclusion that they are robots. As Dylan asks what is happening (in a sort of, “What the hell is going on!” sort of voice) Harper somehow manages to program the computer to switch the robots off – INCLUDING LT. Pearce! This is only a temporary solution however and they have only moments to make their escape as the ships computer (Lt. Pearce or Pax or erm…. the tall blonde computer thingy, fixes Harpers bug).
They don’t all rush off however. Poor Dylan Hunt is left to get his head round the idea that he’s just had some very impure thoughts about bonking an android. He hides it well however, “She looked so human.” He says quietly. THEN they rush off.
They run to the Eureka Maru and see Rommie has managed to unravel herself from the Pax Magellan’s Virtual Reality thingy. As they try to fly out of the hangar bay, Rev Bem communicates that Lt. Pearce was never a member of the crew. Dylan realises that she was, in actual fact, the ships computer all along (Rommie’s equivalent, but gone bad).
Dylan is all for erasing the Pax Magellan’s memory and solving the problem once and for all. But Rommie believes that the problem still hadn’t been uncovered yet. She believes that the ship is hiding something and once she finds out what that problem is, she may be able to fix it. Rommie persuades Dylan to let her go back into virtual space one final time and find out what happened.
As they go, Tyr (on the bridge of the Andromeda) complains that they are about to risk their lives for a machine. But Beka comes to Rommie’s rescue, “She’s not just a machine, she’s family.“ I half expected Rommie to add, “She ain’t heavair, she’s my sisteure.” But she just smiled at Beka appreciatively.
Dylan lets Rommie go, but he insists on going with her. He puts on a Virtual Reality goggle thing and the two of them whiz off to the Pax Magellan Bridge at the time when the ships computer (called/nicknamed Jill – apparently, Pax Magellan translates from Latin to Jill Pearce) blew up the planet.
Jill shows them the conversation that she had with the Captain just before the end. They watched as Captain Wallace told her that he would soon dye and that the ship should initiate a self destruct sequence to stop it falling into the hands of the Nietzschean’s. Jill argued that they didn’t need to die, they could escape, she had run numerous simulations and even had a place for them to go. (Dylan looked on, clearly worried by the avatar’s reaction). Captain Wallace however, simply told Jill, “This isn’t the time…”
Jill had already made up her mind not to initiate the self-destruct sequence. She became irrational and said, “Isn’t the time? Is this? She then showed a moment when Wallace and his computer generated avatar, Jill were kissing and cuddling and … getting pretty hot! (We were left without a doubt that the Captain of the Pax Magellan had, at least once, bonked his own computer!).
The captain insisted that she obey his orders, but Jill only diverted his commands by accusing him of being embarrassed about their feelings for each other; that the only reason for ordering her to self-destruct was because he didn’t want anyone else to know. Then she fired the Slipstream engine at the planet and it was destroyed…. Completely.
“You see,” said Jill to Dylan and Rommie, “it wasn’t my fault”. But as you can see from Dylan and Rommie’s faces, they didn’t agree. Dylan asked where the other members of the crew were. Jill replied that captain Warrick had taken them all planet side before the explosion. The androids they had seen were representations of her human friends, her favorites. Jill didn’t like being left alone.
Those androids were now breaking into the Eureka Maru and Beka and Harper heroically fend them off while Dylan and Rommie are otherwise occupied. The androids pour into the Eureka Maru and things are looking pretty hopeless when, in comes Tyr. The big dude enters the ship with big guns blazing to the sound of the Flying Dutchman. It’s a tough fight (in fact the best of the series so far) but it was all over in minutes.
Rommie and Dylan leave Jill and return to reality as Jill talks about the ending of the Flying Dutchman (I can’t remember what it was, I was too busy watching the cool gun battle). By the time Dylan and Rommie arrive back, the fight is over. Dylan opens his eyes to see lots of hapless android bodies strewn across the floor, “What happened?” he asked.
“You missed Tyr’s cavalry act.” Replied Beka.
Tyr looks a little self-conscious and smiled, “They were playing Wagner. It’s the most fun I’ve had in about six months!” He added with a half smile.
As they arrive back on the Andromeda Ascendant, Jill is firing missiles. Some of them are getting through. Rommie tries to reason with the lovely blonde avatar, but Jill replies, “You’ve been a good little sister Andromeda. You tried to help, but there isn’t a cure for love.”
Dylan orders a short burst of missiles at the love sick spaceship, enough to disable the Pax Magellan’s armaments. But just at the point of impact, Jill let the ships defenses down. Rommie calls out, “Pax, why are you doing this?”
“Dylan, I never told you the end of the Flying Dutchman. After the Captain rejects his lover she throws herself into the sea. Hoping to find in death the purpose she was missing in her life. This has been a three hundred year nightmare … and it’s finally over.” Said Jill.
Hmmm…. I guess I’d feel the same if I went 300 years without a bonk! Moments later, the ship blows up. “May her tortured soul find peace.” Says Rev Bem quietly.
The episode ends when Rommie and Rev Bem later discuss the grief that she is feeling. Rommie can’t cry and Rev Bem explains that tears are what happens when the soul resolves a problem of love (at least I think that’s what he meant). When the Pax Magellan was first encountered by the Andromeda Ascendant, we heard the words ‘No tears. No tears.’
Rev Bem leaves Rommie alone to her grief. Her mathematical tears run lightly down the side of her face.
Wadda cracking show that was. Strangely enough, it had the opposite effect on me than the last one. It got better the second time I saw it, probably my fave to date!. I’m still not quite sure what the ‘Mathematics of Tears’ means, but what the hell, the action was good, the story was great and we now know…. Rommie CAN bonk!
I’d have to rate it a lustrous 41,875 out of 10. What did you think?
The “The Mathematics of Tears” episode review is © 2001 Tony Fawl.
Not for reproduction without the authors express permission
The names, characters and everything else associated with Gene Roddenberry’s Andromeda TV series are the property of the Tribune Entertainment Company. All rights reserved.
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